Resources

Web Sites

Local Food RULES
At our web site, you’ll find what you need if you want to see how to pass an ordinance in your town, as well as background information on the issues raised. The mission of Local Food RULES is to secure and promote the right of community self-governance of food and traditional food exchanges through municipal ordinances and other mechanisms of local governance. LFR is the organization that formed out of the original group of five people who worked on drafting the ordinance, and eventually organized into county chapters of Food For Maine’s Future.

Food For Maine’s Future
FMF is a statewide organization in Maine that is made up of advocates and activists for small farmers, farm workers and their patrons against corporate food monopolies.  FMF seeks to build a just, sustainable and democratic food system to the benefit of all Maine farmers, communities and the environment.  Food for Maine?s Future is part of a growing international movement for food sovereignty.  FMF is working to build solidarity and alliances between rural people in Maine and around the world.  Our work is informed and strengthened through our relationships with our allies in La Via Campesina.

Via Campesina
La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.

Family Farm Defenders
Our mission is to create a farmer-controlled and consumer-oriented food and fiber system, based upon democratically controlled institutions that empower farmers to speak for and respect themselves in their quest for social and economic justice. To this end, FFD supports sustainable agriculture, farm worker rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, fair trade, and food sovereignty.  FFD has also worked to create opportunities for farmers to join together in new cooperative marketing endeavors and to bridge the socioeconomic gap that often exists between rural and urban communities.

National Family Farm Coalition
U.S. farm and food policy must change in order to reverse the economic devastation currently faced by our nation’s family farmers and rural communities. In addition, our international trade policy must recognize each nation’s right and responsibility to make their own decisions about how to develop and protect the capacity to grow food, sustain the livelihood of food producers, and feed the people in its own borders.

We envision empowered communities everywhere working together democratically to advance a food and agriculture system that ensures health, justice, and dignity for all. Future generations will thrive when the family farm is an economically viable livelihood supported by environmentally sustainable and socially diverse vibrant rural communities.

Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

WhyHunger
WhyHunger is a leader in building the movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment.  WhyHunger brings its unique assets and history to building a broad-based social movement to end hunger. Our set of core values rests on the understanding that solutions and innovation are often found in the grassroots. WhyHunger’s programs work to support these community-based organizations as they grow and develop, and bring new ideas and practices to creating a just food system that provides universal access to nutritious and affordable food.

Food First
Food First is a “people’s think tank” dedicated to ending the injustices that cause hunger and helping communities to take back control of their food systems. We advance our mission through three interrelated work areas: research, education and action. These work areas are designed to promote informed citizen engagement with the institutions and policies that control our food and to integrate local, national and global efforts. Our work both informs and amplifies the voices of social movements fighting for food justice and food sovereignty. 

Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. CFS also educates consumers concerning the definition of organic food and products. CFS uses legal actions, groundbreaking scientific and policy reports, books and other educational materials, market pressure and grass roots campaigns through our True Food Network. CFS’s successful legal cases collectively represent a landmark body of case law on food and agricultural issues.

Union of Concerned Scientists
Smart, science-based food and farm policies can increase every American’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables, saving thousands of lives and billions of health care dollars in the process.

And by encouraging farmers to grow a diverse mix of foods using modern, sustainable methods, healthy food policies will also help keep U.S. agriculture productive for the long term.

With powerful interests defending current policies, transforming our food system in a healthier direction will not be easy. But we can do it—and our future depends on it.

Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
The Leopold Center is a research and education center on the campus of Iowa State University created to identify and reduce negative environmental and social impacts of farming and develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources.

The Center’s work is focused in four initiatives – ecology, marketing and food systems, policy and cross-cutting (water, energy, soil and alternative farming systems). Center funding comes from state appropriations and from fees on nitrogen fertilizer and pesticides, as established by the 1987 Iowa Groundwater Protection Act.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
The mission of Stone Barns Center is to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all. Located 25 miles north of Manhattan, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit institution. We operate an 80-acre farm and work to:

Increase public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.
Train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques.
Educate children about the sources of their food, and prepare them to steward the land that provides it.

U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance
Vision Statement: We believe that food and water must be treated as basic human rights and we uphold the internationally recognized principles of food sovereignty.

We honor Mother Earth, value biodiversity, and support ecological farming and fishing practices that protect the Earth, animals, and people.

We support movement away from the dominant, corporate-controlled food system, which is shaped by systems of power and oppression. Our solutions must dismantle systemic food injustice rooted in race, class, and gender oppression.

We respect people and other forms of life over profits. We honor everyone’s work in the food system, including unpaid, underpaid, and devalued labor. We work to honor our human commonalities and restore traditional ways of growing, preparing, sharing, and eating food as a community.

Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is a 501 (c) (4) non-profit organization whose members are joining together and pooling resources to:

  • Protect the constitutional right of the nation’s family farms and artisan food producers to provide processed and unprocessed farm foods directly to consumers through any legal means.
  • Protect the constitutional right of consumers to obtain unprocessed and processed foods directly from family farms and artisan food producers.
  • Protect the nation’s family farms and artisan food producers from harassment by federal, state, and local government interference with food production and/or food processing.

The objective of FTCLDF is to defend the rights of sustainable family farms and artisan food producers to make their products available to consumers in a manner that protects, preserves and enhances the environment and its natural resources, products that include but are not limited to meat and meat products, poultry, eggs, raw milk and raw milk products, fruits and vegetables, lacto-fermented foods and beverages, prepared foods, and bread and other baked goods directly to consumers without a license or permit.

The Complete Patient
This site’s mission is to provide news and analysis about food rights and raw milk. Increasingly, our access to privately available food is under attack by government and industry forces that seek to impose their choices on us. The Complete Patient seeks to provide up-to-date information and encourage the development of community to maintain traditional food acquisition options.

Books

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience, by Frederick L. Kirschenmann. Published by Counterpoint, 2011.  edited by Constance L. Falk
Fred Kirschenmann is a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Iowa, and President of the Board of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.  This collection of his writings is a thoughtful and intelligent look at the problems facing agriculture today and what must be done to solve them.  It is not, however, a technical exploration of the topic, but a philosophical one, leading the reader to understand why he has come to his conclusions.  He is, at heart, an educator, and a brilliant one.  

Bringing It To the Table: On Farming and Food, by Wendell Berry.  Published by Counterpoint, 2009.  Introduction by Michael Pollan
Wendell Berry is a farmer, a poet and an essayist of the first order.  He was one of the early writers warning about the dangers of our industrial food system and encouraging the use of traditional practices to counteract the system.  His writing is spare and straightforward; his visionary understanding of what is needed is complex, with an emphasis on the “cultural” aspect of agriculture.  He calls “the need to promote a general awareness of everybody’s agricultural responsibilities” urgent.  The urgency has grown in the 10 years since he wrote those words.  We must respond.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat, by David E. Gumpert.  Published by Chelsea Green Publishers, 2013
David Gumpert is a journalist who wrote for the Wall St. Journal before taking up his crusade in favor of raw milk.  In this book he chronicles various efforts of activists fighting for the right of people to choose the food they believe is healthful and buy it from farmers who they believe are responsible producers of that food, without government interference.  In telling their stories, he is also chronicling the overreach of federal regulators.  His chapter The Flickering Promise of Food Sovereignty he relates the story of the early years of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance.  He continues to stay in touch and up-date events in his blog The Complete Patient.

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer, by Joel Salatin.  Published by Polyface, 2010.
Another book by the crusader for farming holistically and selling directly to the customer.  This one is in four parts: nurturing the earth, nutrient density and taste vs, shipability, food and farming as a healing ministry, and promoting community.  Joel’s enthusiasm for farming in harmony with nature is infectious; you might find yourself wanting to be a farmer.

Harvesting Justice: Transforming Food, Land and Agricultural Systems in the Americas, by Tory Field and Beverly Bell.  Published by Other Worlds, 2013
This book is a wide-ranging look at food justice, with short essays on many specific topics.  On their web site, harvesting-justice.org, is a curriculum which can be used with schools, churches, and public interest groups to teach people about the issues raised in the book. The appendices provide many other sources of information, as well as specific action steps which can be taken to help.

Films

The Future of Food  (2004) portrays the conflict between farmers and food industry technology, as well as market and political forces, which are changing what people eat.  The film describes the disappearance of traditional cultural practices, opposes the patenting of living organisms, and criticizes the cost of the globalized food industry on human lives around the world.  It states that international companies are gradually driving farmers off their land, that monoculture farming might lead to human dependence on food corporations, and that there is an increased risk of ecological disasters caused by a reduction of biological diversity.  Subsidized GMO corn is replacing local varieties in Mexico while farmers around the world  are held legally responsible for crops being invaded by “company-owned” genes.

Symphony of the Soil  (2012) draws from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science in an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.
—Written by Anonymous

Food, Inc. (2008) is an American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner. The film examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees. The film is narrated by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.

Farmageddon  (2011) tells the story of small, family farmers providing safe, healthy foods to their communities who were forced to stop, often through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies. The movie succinctly poses and addresses the question “why is this happening in 21st century America?” Evoking both sympathy and anger for those farmers violently shut down by overzealous government policy and regulators, Farmageddon stresses the urgency of food freedom. Though the film deals with intense scenes and dramatic situations, the overall tone is optimistic, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods.
Written by David Champeau

You Wanted to Be a Farmer: A Discussion of Scale  (2012) is a video of a field trip to Blue Hill to talk with local people affected by the food sovereignty issues surrounding the State of Maine lawsuit against Blue Hill farmers Dan and Judy Brown.

The People Speak (2009) is a film inspired by Howard Zinn’s works A People’s History of the United States and Voices of A People’s History of the United States.  The film features the actual words (in letters, songs, poetry, speeches and manifestos) of rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past and present, some famous and some unknown.  These words are brought to life by a group of musicians and actors, showing the possibilities of ordinary people for creating social change.